Traffic Continues Transits in Calcasieu Channel

Monday, July 03, 2006
In the Calcasieu Ship Channel, six vessels transited safely into the port and three are expected to transit outbound. The temporary Vessel Traffic Service staffed by Coast Guard personnel and industry stakeholders will control these movements. Contingency operational plans have been devised, as well as equipment and temporary dams placed in at risks areas, in the event of heavy rainfall in the area to counter any problems that may arise from such an event. All commercial docks have been cleared by the Coast Guard to receive vessels. “We’ve made outstanding progress the past few days in getting commercial traffic moving in the Intracostal Waterway and the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” said Coast Guard Captain Thomas Sparks, Captain of the Port of Lake Charles. The easing of commercial traffic restrictions is a highly positive sign of progress in the clean up and recovery operation.

“We’re not completely out of the woods yet, but we’re moving hard and fast in the right direction,” said Sparks. Captain Sparks and the other members of the Unified Command would like to thank the over 1,700 people who responded to the Calcasieu Ship Channel spill. But they are particularly grateful at this time for the dedicated and conscientious efforts of Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA), led by their Executive Director, Raymond Butler. According to Sparks, “GICA volunteers and critical response equipment and vessels from Kirby Corporation, Florida Marine Transporters, AEP Memco Barge Lines, Blessey Marine Services, RECON marine, T & T Marine Salvage Operations, Martin Midstream and Ingram Barge Line were absolutely key to getting commercial traffic moving again.

In addition, according to Sparks, “The towing vessel Miss Mary Joyce did a superb job serving as a support vessel providing fuel, groceries, and a work platform for other vessels involved in commercial traffic control.” Captain Sparks and Unified Command would like to give special thanks to Devall Towing and Boat Service, which graciously allowed its office to house a temporary vessel traffic service, in addition to volunteering the use of its fleeting vessels and dispatchers. Although not members of GICA, “Captain George Mowbray and the Lake Charles Pilots Association were also highly instrumental in helping jump start commercial traffic—in particular, deep draft vessels—in the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” said Sparks.

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